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How many chances it usually takes to win golf's grand slam

By Daniel Wilco
Published on

At the 2018 PGA Championship, Jordan Spieth has the opportunity to become the sixth golfer ever to complete the career grand slam — winning all four of golf’s majors.

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This his second chance to add his name to the list. In 2017, Spieth won The Open Championship, two years after winning both the Masters and U.S. Open. But at the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow, Spieth shot 2-over and finished T28.

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So, how long did it take each member of the career grand slam club to complete theirs?

On average, it was a bit more than two years to go from three to four, and fewer than two chances.

Tiger Woods was of course the fastest in either regard. Woods won his first major at the 1997 Masters, captured the 1999 PGA Championship, and won the U.S. Open and The Open Championship in 2000. There were just 36 days between Tiger’s third and fourth majors, and naturally he completed the slam on his very first chance.

Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player each took three chances to round out their career grand slams. Nicklaus placed second in the 1964 Open Championship (his first attempt at the career grand slam), then finally won it in 1966 in his third try since winning the PGA Championship. Player went T8 and T23 in the U.S. Open when it became the last major on his list before winning in 1965.

Gene Sarazen — the first to ever complete the career grand slam — took three years between his third and fourth major, but his record is slightly skewed. The Masters wasn’t founded until 1934. When Sarazen won the 1932 Open Championship, he had captured all of golf’s current majors. He didn’t play in the Masters until 1935, but won it in his first attempt.

Hogan’s record is also strange. He managed to complete the career grand slam while only playing The Open once, when he won it in 1953. It was two years after he won the Masters.

If Spieth manages to complete his career grand slam, he would become the first to achieve the feat at the PGA Championship. It is the only one of the four majors that hasn’t been the final notch for a player’s grand slam.

Here is how all five players completed their career grand slams:

Gene Sarazen

1st major: 1922 U.S. Open
2nd major: 1922 PGA Championship
3rd major: 1932 Open Championship
4th major: 1935 Masters

Ben Hogan

1st major: 1946 PGA Championship
2nd major: 1948 U.S. Open
3rd major: 1951 Masters
4th major: 1953 Open Championship

Gary Player

1st major: 1959 Open Championship
2nd major: 1961 Masters
3rd major: 1962 PGA Championship
4th major: 1965 U.S. Open

Jack Nicklaus

1st major: 1962 U.S. Open
2nd major: 1963 Masters
3rd major: 1963 PGA Championship
4th major: 1966 Open Championship

Tiger Woods

1st major: 1997 Masters
2nd major: 1999 PGA Championship
3rd major: 2000 U.S. Open
4th major: 2000 Open Championship